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Stomach Cancer Treatment

Studies have found no evidence that routine screening for stomach cancer in people of average risk is useful for early diagnosis. As such, there are no recommendations for stomach cancer screening in the United States. If you have questions about your risk factors and whether you might benefit from screening, talk to your doctor.

Stomach cancer is diagnosed through a discussion with your doctor about your medical history and risk factors, a physical exam, and potentially an endoscopy. During an endoscopy, a physician uses a thin tube with a camera on the end to examine your throat and your stomach.

Developing a Stomach Cancer Treatment Plan

New cases of stomach cancer are presented at UI Health's weekly multidisciplinary tumor board. Disciplines present include radiation oncology, medical oncology, surgical oncology, and robotic surgery. The tumor board allows each patient's case to be reviewed by multiple specialties at once and expedites the treatment process.

Stomach Cancer Treatment

Treatment of stomach cancer depends on the stage and the patient's age and comorbidities.

Treatments offered at UI Health for stomach cancer include:

  • Surgical oncology: Surgical resection is a standard treatment for stomach cancer. At UI Health, we aim to use minimally invasive, robotic techniques for resection surgery. The Gastroenterology Program also resects some very small tumors using endoscopy.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy attacks the rapid growth of cancer cells at specific places in the growth cycle. It comes in both oral and intravenous (IV) form. Oral chemotherapy is used for both adenocarcinomas and GIST, and most adenocarcinomas will benefit from some kind of IV chemotherapy.
  • Radiation oncology: Radiation therapy is often used in combination with chemotherapy to treat stomach cancer and can be used both before and after surgery. It can shrink a tumor prior to surgery, treat inoperable tumors, and help prevent recurrence after surgery or other treatment.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is a viable treatment option for tumors that have certain genetic features. It harnesses the immune system, particularly the T cells, and directs the T cells to recognize and attack the tumor.
  • Targeted therapy: UI Health offers targeted therapy to treat HER2-mutated tumors, the driving force behind the cancer's mutation, and inhibits them.

Treating Metastatic Stomach Cancer

It is rare for cancer to metastasize to the stomach. Cases of metastatic stomach cancer that spread to the stomach are addressed on a case-by-case basis after evaluating the patient's condition and needs. Typically, the primary course of treatment is systemic chemotherapy.

Clinical Trials

UI Health participates in both institutional and national research and clinical trials, including those related to the treatment of stomach cancer. Eligibility for participation is based on a variety of factors. Patients should ask their physician about any relevant clinical trials.